President Bola Tinubu, on Sunday, in Guinea-Bissau, emerged the Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States.
In his remarks, the Nigerian leader called on ECOWAS to “stand firm on democracy,” declaring that, “We will not accept coup after coup in West Africa again. Democracy is very difficult to manage, but it is the best form of government.”
Tinubu warned that terrorism and the emerging pattern of coup d’etat in West Africa had reached alarming levels and demanded urgent, concerted actions.
Therefore, he called for collective action from member-states, pledging that under his leadership, frameworks would be harmonised to actualise the dreams of ECOWAS.
The Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties, Communications and Strategy, Dele Alake, revealed this in a statement he signed on Sunday titled, ‘President Tinubu emerges as new ECOWAS Chairman, harps on regional security.’
According to the statement, in a unanimous endorsement, Tinubu emerged as the new Chairman of the ECOWAS at the 63rd Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government on Sunday in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau.
Tinubu, who accepted the honour on behalf of Nigeria, pledged to bear the responsibility of the office and run an inclusive administration of the regional organisation.
While decrying the emerging pattern of coup d’etat in West Africa, Tinubu charged ECOWAS to stand firm in defence of democracy.
“There is no one among us who did not campaign to be a leader. We didn’t give our soldiers resources, we didn’t invest in them, in their boots, in their training to violate the freedom of the people,” Tinubu said.
According to him, the military turning its guns against civil authorities violates the principles upon which they were hired, which is to defend the sovereignty of their nations.
“We must not sit in ECOWAS as toothless bulldogs,” the Nigerian leader said.
He urged his counterparts to strengthen their respective democratic institutions and ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law, saying his one-year tenure “will enhance engagements with the countries in transition (Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso) to ensure their quick return to democratic rule.”
The new ECOWAS Chairman also called for improved private sector participation in the economic development of member states and their social integration.
He said his administration would actively promote trade, investment and business cooperation among ECOWAS member states by addressing the barriers impeding intra-regional trade and creating a conducive business environment,
He urged member states to “look inward” and work with regional economic facilitation platforms like the Federation of West Africa Chamber of Commerce and Industry and ECOWAS Trade Organisation Network to attain their goals.
He added, “Indeed, without a peaceful environment, progress and development in the region will continue to remain elusive.
“In this regard, we must remain committed to utilising all regional frameworks at our disposal to address the menace of insecurity.”
Earlier, the outgone Chairman and President of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, Umaro Embalo, congratulated Nigeria and Sierra Leone for sustaining constitutional order through the democratic process with the recent successful elections.